George McGregor Cabin

Long before he built this cabin, George McGregor was a miner on Woodchopper Creek. He was at Woodchoppper by 1923. In 1926, he and his partner Frank Rossback staked the discovery claim and several others on Mineral Creek, a tributary of Woodchopper. From 1928 to 1935, McGregor staked five claims on Woodchopper.

Five miles from the Yukon, Mineral Creek, the scene of some placer mining, joins Woodchopper Creek from the south. Though Mineral Creek was staked as early as 1898, actual mining did not begin until several years later. In 1906, 18 men were engaged in mining on this creek and more or less work was done on seven claims. Most of the work was done by “shoveling in” methods, but one small hydraulic plant was used for stripping and three steam hoists were operated. Most of the mining was done in winter with the aid of steam points. The total production for 1906 is estimated to have been $18,000, of which four-fifths was taken out in winter.

In the mid-1930s, McGregor sold out to Ernest Patty, who represented Alluvial Gold, Inc. Alluvial Gold, the sister company of Gold Placers, Inc., which bought up claims on Coal Creek, acquired the active claims on Woodchopper and established a camp near Iron Creek, about 1 1/2 miles up Woodchopper from Mineral Creek. There they introduced a dredge, bringing methods to placer mining that small-scale miners could not afford.

When McGregor relinquished his mining interests, he turned to trapping. Because he needed dogs to use as transportation for trapping, he fished in the summers to provide dog food. McGregor built this cabin in 1938 and used it as his fish camp. He also used it as his base of operations in the winter, but had several other cabins on his traplines. According to his diary, he built a cabin at an unspecified location and another one at Andrews Creek in 1946.

In the summer, McGregor had a fishwheel and fished to provide food for his dogs, as well as to sell. Art Reynolds, who lived over on Sam Creek, recorded buying fish from him and Louise Paul, whose husband worked for Patty at Woodchopper and Coal creeks, also remembered buying fish from him. When the fish were running, McGregor’s diary recorded only the number of fish per day.

Although McGregor lived alone, he was obviously part of a community. About a dozen people appear regularly in his diary, often identified only by first name. He sold fish to his neighbors and was visited regularly. In the summer of 1954, McGregor moved to Eagle. He served on the common council from 1955-57 and 1961-63, and as election judge from1955-58 and 1960-61. In 1963, he left Alaska.

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